On 8th May 1945 Victory in Europe was declared. Although the Second World War would rage on in the Far East for another three months until Victory over Japan on 15th August, VE Day was a historically significant day, a day for celebration, remembrance and reflection.
Seventy-five years on and the current pandemic lockdown means that many planned events and gatherings to mark this important VE Day anniversary have been cancelled, with others, where possible, being moved online. Here’s a flavour of what’s happening across the region to mark #VEDAY75 during these challenging times.
Nottinghamshire war building gets listed status
At RAF Hucknall in Nottinghamshire, an underground command post was built at the airfield in 1940 with a three-storey brick observation tower and observation slits to keep watch for enemy air attack. This rare relic of the war remains and has been added to the National Heritage List by Historic England to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
At Home events
People are being encouraged to mark the anniversary with At Home events. Museums and historic sites which are currently closed to the public, such as Ayscoughfee Hall in Lincolnshire, are suggesting that people should stay at home and make their own bunting, dress up in red, white and blue and have a picnic or afternoon tea in the house. If you’d like to join in , BBC Local radio are sharing instructions on how to make your own bunting.
In Northamptonshire, the Mayor of Northampton will be live streaming a programme of events, with all performances virtual and observing social distancing. Go to the Mayor of Northampton’s Facebook page for more information.
Have a look at Leicester City Council’s dedicated VE Day webpage for more information about marking the anniversary during lockdown. It offers links to get you singing along 1940’s style, baking the wartime way and dancing the Lindy Hop. There are links to special church services which will be broadcast on the day itself and teaching and learning resources for those involved in home schooling from the Royal British Legion.
Oral histories of VE Day
And finally, to find out how it really felt to live through VE Day back in 1945, you can listen to some of the recorded memories of local people archived at the East Midlands Oral History Archive. In the extract below (recorded in the 1990s), Leicester residents remember what VE Day meant to them.
Other selected oral histories from the EMOHA are hosted on the University of Leicester’s Special Collections Online website. Happy listening!